Lawn Survival 101

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As the sun beats down and with backyard cricket in full swing, there’s a few things you can do to keep your lawn looking lush over summer.

Whether your lawn is large or simply a small patch in a courtyard, it’s all about balance.

“It’s not just about giving the lawn the water, we find that hot spots [brown areas] in the lawn don’t help,” lawn expert Rusty Garton told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Anthony Frangi.

Anne Dimov inspecting her lawn
Photo by Anthony Pancia

Mr Garton, from Australian Lawn Fanatics, said the best way to know if your lawn needed some tender loving care was by checking the leaves of the grass.

“If your lawn is sick, the leaves will be curling,” he said.

“It’s a way that the lawn protects itself and you have to be able to get that water deep down into the soil as the roots are what needs the moisture, not the leaf.”

Rise and shine to water

He said most lawns should be watered in the morning, twice a week, with one good soaking on the weekend.

“The morning is the best time to water your lawn as you won’t get an aggressive evaporation as during the day.”

“The disadvantage of watering late in the day is that it leaves water on the leaf of the plant and that can cause disease on the plant.”

Sprinkler in Katherine
Photo by Mike Donnelly

Diagnosing dead patches

“Test your lawn with an eyedropper or a small cup of water on the brown areas.”

“If the water pools there, then you know your soil is hydrophobic and isn’t allowing water to the roots.”

“There’s a wide range of products out there from hardware stores that can help your problem, but nip it in the bud early on.”

Grab your garden fork

Like humans, grass likes air and a lot of it.

“Wet the lawn and then use a pitch fork to open up the soil to allow water to get through to the root zone of the plant.”

Kuga lies on a lawn.
Photo supplied by ADF

Watch out for dogs and grubs

If you are seeing moths around your lawn on dusk, you may have grubs in your grass.

“They come out during the summer months, so having a good plan to stay on top of it is important,” Mr Garton said.

“Look for brown cocoons as that’s a giveaway.”

Four-legged friends can also cause havoc that needs to be addressed.

“Follow your dog and if they go to wee on your lawn, then irrigate that area,” Mr Garton said.

“Their pee does burn the grass in those areas.”

“There’s no sure way to fix it and I’ve tried various ways but irrigating after they do their business is the quickest and easiest way.”

A boy pushes a mower, depicting the disadvantages of a grass yard.
Photo by Eric Leslie

Giving up and starting again

There is no lawn that cannot be fixed.

“I don’t give up on a lawn, and some of the lawns I do come across can look barren, but I give this simple advice and they do bounce back,” Mr Garton said.

“It’s about having a strategy and planning and you need to be patient — if you put in the effort you will be rewarded.”

“Use quality slow-release fertiliser, water correctly, and always remember to use sharp blades on your mower and you will have a great summer lawn.”

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